Friday, October 24, 2008


copyright permission by nori herself, ....need for more dear cuddly!

By: Nori Shamsuddin

I hate to let my imagination run wild, but I cannot stop thinking of what could have happened to me had I not been discovered by my elder sister before any other stranger did. Not that I was lost in a huge space where strangers are hustling and bustling around; and not that the spot was eerie or creepy either…after all; it was over in about 10 minutes or so. Sigh.

It was just a mere mishap; I was accidentally left behind by my family in a hotel lift and I wasn’t sure when they had actually left the lift. The fact that I was 10, would probably make you go…aww, come on, you were smart and tall enough to reach for the buttons of the hotel lift – voila, end of worry! Mind you, I was a smart kid, and I was tall enough. But the problem with me was, I was too imaginative and made the situation worse by conjuring up so many “what-could-happen-next-scenes”!

I was in my usual daydream-mode that day. It was switched on all the way - from the tour bus, to the hotel lobby and finally in the lift, so I didn’t know which room my family was heading to, and I hadn’t the faintest idea which floor either; and the fact that I was in a hotel lift in Japan trapped with queer folks, made me lose my confidence. So there I was in the lift, and it was making its way up, very slowly. My heart took control over my head, and I just stood still. I felt that time moved at a snail’s pace (or was it because we were moving upwards from floor to floor – further away from the Reception i.e. My Hope, My Chance, My Destination). I looked around at my Potential Abductors (useful for criminal identification later), but they looked rather nice and harmless. As a matter of fact, they were rambling on and on in Japanese and were totally unaware of my existence in the lift (oh, but aren’t kidnappers full of tricks?).

Anyway, I regained composure, then pushed the button marked G, preparing myself to mutter some “Mushi-Mushi-I’m-lost-and-could-you-please-send-me-up-to-my-room-ASAP-Arigato” thing to the receptionist, and become a child hero and probably be rewarded with some Japanese Rice Cookies or something. So I waited and waited. Waiting provoked my thoughts to imagine the worse again. But mind you, there weren’t any tears. So there I was in the lift pretending to be bored of the petty mumbles of my fellow inmates and gazed boldly at the numbers displayed on the tiny screen in the corner. Oh no, I was not going to cry in front of a couple of strangers. Since I had it fixed in my mind that they were Potential Abductors, I had to be alert and wary of their every move. The fact that I looked very much Japanese like they were, didn’t help either. Why, they could have dragged me to live with them and their neighbours would think that I’m their new-found niece from one of the villages in Japan (they might change my name and call me “Ma Atarashii” i.e. “Brand New”) and the police wouldn’t believe my story and would think that I am (once again) overly imaginative. I know my great grandma was Japanese, but that doesn’t mean that I wanted to migrate to Japan, and for the rest of my life, instead of my mum’s sambal tumis udang, sushi would have been my favourite daily meal! I would become an overnight star; my face would be in all their Shinbun – The Overly Imaginative Malaysian Japanese Look-alike who took hours to reach the Reception – Kidnapped! Nope, didn’t want to be a celebrity.

I thought of all the sins I had done. Apart from the silent curses that I was having for my family, I was an angel. I remembered heaving sighs of relief when all the Potential Abductors had finally left the lift; at least I have control of the buttons now. I re-pressed on G and waited for what seemed like hours. Ah well, I would just have to face the pimply-faced receptionist and order him to send me up to my room. It would be so un-cool to put on a sympathetic face. So I massaged the lines of fear and cowardliness away from my face, and tried to put on a smug, haughty look. But the heavy doors of the lift suddenly opened and there was my elder sister grabbing me and muttering words of comfort. The rest of the clan emerged seconds later – my dad, mum and elder brother – each of them clinging tightly to me. I suppose all the imaginative thoughts I had has drained my tears of joy and the entire hullabaloo they caused were deafening. It was the only experience (and a very short one too) I remember where I went missing from my family. Although I hid my feelings of happiness, I was glad – just glad!

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